“To have a home is not a favour”: Keorapetse Kgositsile on the refugee crisis

In his Mending Wall commission, composer George Lewis sets text by the late South African poet and activist Keorapetse Kgositsile (1938–2018), who once described the boundary between poetry and music as “artificial” and “practically criminal.” In this 2009 video, Kgositsile reads his “Anguish Longer Than Sorrow.”

It begins:

If destroying all of the maps known 
would erase all of the boundaries
from the face of this earth
I would say, let us
make a bonfire
to reclaim and sing
the human person.

Refugee is an ominous load
even for a child to carry
for some children
words like home
could not carry any possible meaning
but
displaced
border
refugee
must carry dimensions of brutality and terror
past the most hideous nightmare
anyone could experience or imagine

Read the entire poem here: https://www.lyrikline.org/en/poems/anguish-longer-sorrow-5908

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